Why Do Communities Thrive or Die? Questions wanted

WordCamp_2013_Logo[The panel is over: notes from it are here]

Next This week I’m moderating a panel on building online communities as part of WordCamp Seattle, at 1pm Saturday June 8th. I have four experts, either with vibrant communities or with wisdom about how to grow and maintain them. I’m looking for questions and challenges for them during the session.

The panelists are:

Most blogs struggle to get comments on posts, much less build an active user base that lead their own discussions. What insights would you want to hear from people who have made it work?

Even if you’re not attending WordCamp Seattle, what would questions would you ask? What situations have you experienced as a blogger that you want an expert’s opinion on? Please leave a comment. I’ll make sure there’s a writeup afterwards so you can read the answers even if you couldn’t attend.

9 Responses to “Why Do Communities Thrive or Die? Questions wanted”

  1. Linda Watson

    Thanks, Scott! My question is: for individual bloggers who don’t have a staff to handle spam and list bullies, what is the minimum level of validation that we should ask from community participants to encourage quality discussion? I’m currently asking people to at least have a free account on my site, but am getting ready to move to WordPress so people can login with Twitter or Facebook too without having to get yet another ID.

  2. Jennifer Haston

    Several questions, How do you make your blog a “must read”?
    How to build on comments to create traffic?
    Many blogs talk about figuring out your niche and speak to that.. How do you figure out your niche ?
    Sounds like it will be a great event, sorry to miss it and thank you for offering a forum for questions.

  3. Theresa Ramsey

    Some communities are sponsored by a company though they encourage conversation/interaction from everyone. How best do you get community members actively engaged (like people helping each other out by answering forum posts) vs just asking questions or consuming content? What do you do when you, as the sponsoring company, don’t agree with what someone from the community has posted (say, as an answer to the forum post)? You want to get the correct info out there without making the person that actively participated and answered look stupid.

  4. Theresa Ramsey

    What metrics do you track on your blog or community to help track engagement? What tools do you use?

  5. John Higley

    I’d love to know some strategies of how to grow communities once you’ve captured that small, but excited, initial group of people, especially if the community is somewhat broad and not focused on tech-savvy people. Word of mouth only gets you so far with a small group.

  6. Eric Amundson


    Would love to know if panelists have found third-party commenting systems like Disqus, Intense Debate (part of Jetpack), or CommentLuv help build communities better/faster than stock WP comments.

  7. Jonathan Gitlin

    Hi Scott –
    Thanks for moderating the Building Communities workshop. My question for the panel is:
    How do you build community on a topic or niche that you have no significant prior experience with, but where you perceive a need for information and support?


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